Skip to comments.Ronald Reagan and What I Got Wrong [Note to Mitt Romney: really, itís you, not them. Seriously.]
Posted on 11/20/2012 12:10:08 PM PST by KentTrappedInLiberalSeattle
Every person who talks and writes about politics gets stuff wrong. Ive gotten my fair share wrong. But what I think I got most wrong in Campaign 2012 was the damage Mitt Romneys 47% remark would do to him.
It may seem obvious, but bear with me.
Mitt Romney was talking off the cuff to a supposedly off the record group of donors and muddled several data points together, ultimately telling the tale of the 47% who wont vote for him for any reason. He was referencing the 47% who dont pay taxes and interwove it with a 47% of locked in Obama support. The statement was a mess.
I didnt think Mitt Romney would be as hurt by the statement as he was because I assumed Romney had misspoken in an off the cuff way. I assumed Romney would clarify that he knew many of those who have government assistance did not actually want the assistance, but needed it. I assumed hed make the case that hed help those people get off the government dole and back into work.
In other words, I assumed Romney believed what I believe many of those people are good people who fell on hard times and are not of the same class of people who will vote for Barack Obama for free stuff. I was absolutely wrong. Romney not only believes completely what he said as he said it, he reinforced it with his post election analysis of his defeat blaming gifts to various classes of people. If that was true, as Newt Gingrich pointed out, Romney had plenty to gift to plenty strapped to the back of marching elephants.
Note to Mitt Romney: really, its you, not them. Seriously.
What does this have to do with Ronald Reagan? As Dan McLaughlin pointed out, every Republican Presidential candidate since Ronald Reagan opposed Ronald Reagan in the 1980 election except John McCain. Think about that for a minute. Every nominee of the party cast by the media as an insane fringe of conservatives actually opposed, from the left, Ronald Reagan in 1980.
Each of those candidates ran successfully as heirs to Reagan or, when they failed, as rich Republicans who believe in some sort of noblesse oblige. George H. W. Bush, embracing his own identity outside the shadow of Reagan in 1992, Bob Dole in 1996, John McCain in 2008, and Mitt Romney in 2012 all ran as patrician aristocrats who intended to make government more efficient to help the poor. There really was no theme of elevating the poor from poverty or the middle class to the rich. The theme was the care and comfort of men through the technocratic efficiencies of government and a conservative disposition. Romney did that this time too, going so far as to put his more conservative running mate in a witness protection program for candidates.
Reagan in 1980 ran a campaign on the explicit understanding that government was an obstacle to the poor and middle class elevating themselves from poverty and the role of a Reagan Administration would be to get the government out of the way. George W. Bush largely ran his 2000 campaign in a similar vein, but cast as a compassionate conservatism that quickly morphed into a big government conservatism once elected.
Republicans are not successful when they run campaigns as the rich patrician out to make government more efficient so it can be more helpful. Republicans win with conservative populists who run as men who pulled themselves up in life fighting big government and its cronies.
Fortunately for the GOP, in all this talk about the end of the GOP, people overlook that from here on out for the next decade or two well be in an era of Republican politician who was raised in the era of Reagan and supported either Reagan or the idea of Reagan. Mitt Romney will probably be the last Republican nominee who ever opposed Ronald Reagan. That is a very good thing. From here on out our candidates will most likely speech Reaganese, even if not in a Reaganesque way, without sounding like they learned it from Rosetta Stone because each of them will have formed their world view during Ronald Reagans America.
The problem with noblesse oblige is that it always entails droit de seigneur.
Mittens' wholly predictable (and predicted) loss to Herr Zero has driven a significant number of formerly more-or-less sane Republicans full-bore, weapons-grade conspiracy theory batsqueak insane.
He makes good points. Romney’s post-election musings seem to indicate that he doesn’t really believe in the power of free market capitalism and traditional values to pull people out of poverty and government dependence. If you don’t really believe in the conservatism and the Republican platform, can you please step aside and make room for a leader who does?
I blame the MSM almost entirely.
Nothing will ever work again in American politics as long as we have a ONE PARTY MEDIA-with a criminally free hand in determinging our leadership for us.
I have complete faith and confidence that the GOP-e will not learn from this lesson. Comprehensive immigration reform is back on the table. And so-called social causes off. That and making the wealthy pay their “fair” share will become the new Republican mantra.
Van Jones, Michael Moore and Dennis Kucinich; any one of whom the CINOs would ecstatically endorse in 2016, over a West or a Palin.
That's the shape and size of the problem, right there.
BOTH parties are now to the left of center...the judgement of G-d is upon us.
Given the sheer number of screechy, pop-eyed postings lately, re: "Karl Rove and UnSkewedpolls and Dick Morris Were All Really Right and Mittens Actually WON, Dammit!"... I'd say that's a depressingly accurate assessment, Jim. ;)
This was clear from way before he got the nomination. Remember his statement that he'd index the minimum wage to inflation during the primary? Romney's not a free market guy.
At the same time I don't agree with Republicans or conservatives dismissing the argument that people who are net tax RECEIVERS are likely to vote for Obama and the Democrats. Many people will vote on their short-term self interest. The fact that Obama has been trying to radically expand the food stamp program and other welfare benefits and market them aggressively to more people should tell you that. He wouldn't be doing it if it didn't benefit him politically.
Stopping the expansion of these welfare programs should remain a high priority for conservatives. And we have to do all we can to explain why our policies are economically better for everyone in the long-term. But there's only so much we'll be able to do to combat human nature and its tendency to favor short-term benefits over long-term. Which means we need to do everything we can to stop the expansion of the welfare state even if it damages us in the short-term. Caving in on it is pointless, because as Laura Ingraham smartly points out, it would just launch a bidding war with the Democrats, who would offer bigger and better welfare benefits than us every time.
If you can’t beat McCain and Romney in a room full of connservatives, how can you beat obama with the weight if the MSM against you?
Not gonna change. The media thru it's elites own the election & it is not gonna be a conservative.
Good post, thanks. Erickson has an astute take on the false ‘heirs’ to Reagan. GHWB was forced on RR by the GOPe and actually did as much damage as possible from within the Administration. The Bush bastards and their camp followers should be throw under the bus/train/garbage truck!
Stoopid, stoopid compassionate commie-crats!
I think they’ve already settled on Jebbie, and the little Republican primary voters will fall dutifully in line again.
I just gom-smacked by the uselessness of the supposedly numbers guy Paul Ryan in explaining how the R&R team were going to put the economy back on track with their miraculous voodoo!!! Did Ryan become persona non grata?
I solemnly guarantee you, if so, that each and every Mittens acolyte hereabouts will be recycling all of the following arguments four years from now, without even the merest scintilla of self-awareness or shame:
"THE MOST IMPORTANT ELECTION OF OUR LIFETIMES!!!"
"HE VOTES WITH US 85% OF THE TIME!!!"
"CONSERVATIVES CAN'T ACTUALLY WIN ELECTIONS!!!"
"YOU'RE ALL JUST SOCON PURISTS!!!"
Lather. Rinse. Repeat.
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